1. Sports
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Core Strength Exercises

Improve your core strength for martial arts success

By

Every martial arts style requires a level of fitness from its practitioners. Core strength exercises, or those that target the stomach, back, and pelvis, are particularly important to success in all athletic activities, including martial arts. A strong core is likely to help ward off injury, improve striking power, and aid in ground fighting techniques, especially those that emanate from the hips-important Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guard.

Along with this, here are five core strength exercises to consider in your martial arts training that require no exercise equipment whatsoever.

Abdominal Crunch

©iStockphoto.com/dlewis33
  1. Lie on a padded floor with your knees bent in front of you. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  2. Cross your hands on your chest and keep your chin pointing upward. Chin placement is the key to a good crunch; if your chin touches your chest or neck than you are doing this exercise wrong.
  3. Curl your body straight upward so that your head comes up without lunging. This is a controlled motion. Only your head, neck, and shoulder blades should lift off the floor.
  4. Pause there, squeezing your abdominals.
  5. Then slowly lower back to your original position.

Bicycle Crunch

©iStockphoto.com/technotr
  1. Lie on your back on a padded floor.
  2. Bring your knees up to a 45-degree angle, then begin to move them in a pedalling motion as if you were riding a bicycle.
  3. As you pedal, your head lifts off the floor and your elbow touches the opposite (bent knee).
  4. Continue to breath evenly throughout this exercise.

According to an About Exercise article, a study done by the American Council on Exercise indicated that the Bicycle Crunch targets the rectus abdominis (six pack) and the obliques better than any other core exercise.

Plank

Courtesy of FormFitness.ca.
  1. Lie face down resting on your elbows with your palms down.
  2. Lift off the floor so that your back becomes flat and your elbows are directly under you while on your toes.
  3. Contract your abdominals and hold that position with your back flat for approximately 20 seconds or more.
  4. Lower back to the floor slowly.

Side Plank

Courtesy of FormFitness.ca.
  1. Lie on a side and raise yourself onto your forearm (left) and the side of your foot (left). Your left shoulder should be directly above your left elbow.
  2. Contract your abdominals so as to keep yourself in a straight alignment and hold.
  3. There are several variations of the side plank that can be more or less complex than this standard.

Quadruped

  1. Lower to all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders.
  2. Raise your arm and reach straight ahead, while doing the same with the same side leg in the other direction.
  3. Hold for a count and then lower. Repeat on the other side.
Related Video
5 Karate Exercises Kids Can Do at Home
  1. About.com
  2. Sports
  3. Martial Arts
  4. Health & Fitness
  5. Core Strength - Core Strength Exercises

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.